Facebook Users In Germany Allowed To Use Nicknames


Not long ago, I tried changing my Facebook name to a nickname, which I picked from Game of Thrones. Facebook had different thoughts about it and denied my request.  A woman in Germany faced the same fate and instead of crying herself to sleep like I did, opted to report the Social Networking giant to the  Hamburg data protection authority,a body responsible for policing Facebook in Germany.

According to Reuters, Facebook blocked the woman’s account after she used a pseudonym. Facebook also requested a copy of her ID and then proceeded to change her Facebook name to her actual name without her consent.  The woman did not want to use her Facebook name to avoid users contacting her for business using the social networking site.

In its ruling, the Hamburg data protection authority said that forcing Facebook users to stick to their real names amounted to violation of their rights to privacy. In addition, the authority ruled that Facebook cannot change user’s usernames to their real names or even demand to see the government IDS. The ruling thus allowed Facebook users to use pseudonyms.

Facebook said it uses real names to protect user privacy by validating if in deed these people are who they claim they are.  Facebook also said it ensures safety through this as its users are able to know who they are sharing and connecting with. The company has since termed the ruling as disappointing, claiming that its privacy policy complies with the EU laws. Facebook is also battling a suit in Belgium, over the way it tracks the activities of its users. This was after a Belgian privacy watchdog took the company to Court. In addition, authorities in Spain, Netherlands and France are investigating Facebook’s privacy policies.